WEYMOUTH is without a mayor for what is believed to be the first time in more than 400 years.

The unusual situation comes about because Weymouth and Portland borough council has now been disbanded and the new Weymouth town council has yet to hold elections.

It will mean that any official functions will be attended for about six weeks by Weymouth town clerk, Jane Biscombe, in the place of the town’s first citizen.

Gill Taylor, who was elected to be Mayor in May 2018, says the situation is unusual: “You can’t have a mayor of a non existent council – until we get the new town council elected and they elect a new mayor the post won’t exist,” she said.

“The town clerk Jane Biscombe will be carrying out any official duties in the meantime, including events such as Anzac Day,” said Mrs Taylor.


The circumstances have also meant that mayor’s charity donations, including to the Lantern Trust and the Dorset Domestic Abuse Welfare Committee, as well as the Lions Christmas show, have had to be wrapped up earlier than normal.

“It was a question of getting it done now, or try and cope with the complexities of who can sign cheques and so on” said the outgoing Mayor whose duties officially ended at midnight on March 31st.

The Weymouth and Portland mayor’s role has been a combined one since the last local government reorganisation in 1974 with official records of a Weymouth and Melcombe Regis mayor dating back to at least 1615.

Mrs Taylor says she was aware of the likelihood of a shortened year of duty when she took office but several organisations have written in since the start of the year to request the Mayor to be at their functions.

“I have said to some of them that I can’t come along as Mayor and explained why, but many have just asked me to come along anyway, which is nice.”

Mrs Taylor says her year has been hard work but fun: “ It has brought it home that there are so many people who do so many different things for the area and also how many of these organisations could do with just a little bit of support – something I hope the new Weymouth town council will take on board”

She said that one of the highlights of her year was the winter shelter arrangements, involving local churches, for rough sleepers, a project which she has been involved in helping set up and where she also worked as a volunteer.

“We have yet to evaluate it properly but I am very hopeful that it will be in operation again from this December onwards,” she said.